She has been dubbed the rising star of the triathlon scene and yet Catherine Faux only took up the sport four years ago.
Now the 24-year-old Sheffield medical student has qualified for the Ironman World Championship later this year.
“Happily in triathlon you don’t need to be the very best of the best at each discipline to be the best at combining them,” says Catherine.
“When I was younger I was never outstanding at any one sport though I would compete in pretty much everything at school level.
“I did a couple of years of club swimming but had missed the boat having started too old. When I went to uni I was determined to try as many sports as possible. I was worried that I just wouldn;t have enough time for everything. I tried triathlon and much to my surprise I got the results.”
Catherine juggles training and racing with her studies at the University of Sheffield where she is due to graduate next year.
Like many students she also likes to get plenty of sleep.
“I view sleep as part of my training regime, it is really important,” she says.
However, last year she took a leave of absence to spend a year being a medical assistant for Team Sky and the GB Cycling Team.
“It made things easier with getting time off to race but still tricky, training-wise as I was travelling to Manchester every day.”
After graduating next summer Catherine plans to do a couple of years as a junior doctor and then she would like to consider becoming a professional athlete. She is already looking forward to representing her country in the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii having qualified last month, coming fourth overall. She was first in her age group and also the first amateur female to take part in the gruelling event, completing the course in 9:22:51.
“I had a great race in Nice, a beautiful location for an Ironman with a stunning but challenging bike course. I surprised myself by coming 10 minutes behind the overall female winner, herself smashing the previous course record,” says Catherine, who is lookinig forward to returning to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in October.
She has set her sights on beating her previous result which was a silver medal in the 25-29 age group.
“Hawaii is an amazing place to compete but no two races are the same and conditions can vary so although I would really like to go one better this year your never know.”
Competitors race in the searing heat and through lava fields as part of the Kailua-Kona course which involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run.
“I was really pleased at winning a silver. Kona is the most prestigious event in long-distance triathlon. The race is famed for being one of the toughest and the competition was strong,” says Catherine. Although triathlon is in the Olympics, Catherine’s favourite discipline the endurance “Ironman” is not included.
“I doubt it ever will be as it such a long race,” says Catherine. “It’s not a great spectator sport, but it is great to compete in.”
Catherine is billed as one of the best amateur triathletes in the world, and is part of Team Freespeed Virgin Active.